Maintaining a child's weight to be ideal is not an easy matter for some parents. Many parents find it difficult to adjust or maintain an ideal body weight, especially when their child has difficulty eating, is recovering from illness, or has an unhealthy diet.
Every child has a different growth process. In addition, heredity also plays a major role in determining a child's weight and body shape. However, in general, appropriate calculations are needed to determine whether the child's weight is normal and healthy. This calculation can be done through the assessment of body mass index.
Using BMI as an Indicator of a Healthy Child's Weight
Body mass index (BMI) or body mass index (BMI) is used to determine whether a child's weight is ideal. This method was developed by experts to determine a healthy weight range according to height.
To determine a child's BMI, you need to measure the child's height and weight. After the data regarding the child's height and weight are known, you can find out if your child's BMI is in the normal range through the example calculation below.
If your child weighs 40 kg and is 1.40 m (140 cm) tall, the following is the calculation of his body mass index:
- Multiply the child's height in meters squared → 1.40 x 1.40 = 1.96
- Next, divide the child's weight by the square of height → 40 : 1.96 = 20.4.
- Your child's BMI is 20.4.
After you get a child's BMI number, you can determine whether the child's weight is ideal, underweight, or excessive based on the BMI classification for children according to their age.
Another way is to compare the child's weight with a graph of the child's weight gain by age that you can see on the Card Towards Health.
If the results show that your child is underweight, overweight, or obese, you are advised to consult a pediatrician. After that, the doctor can provide the right treatment so that the child's weight can be normal.
It is important that children's nutrition and health problems are detected as early as possible so as not to interfere with their growth and development process.
How to keep your child's weight ideal
To keep your child's weight ideal, you can follow the following tips:
1. Provide balanced nutritious food
Children whose weight is below normal does not mean that they should be given high-calorie or fatty foods. They still need a balanced nutritious diet consisting of carbohydrates, fiber, protein, good fats, and vitamins and minerals.
2. Give supplements
If the nutritional needs are not met through food, either because the food is less varied or the child has difficulty eating, you can provide nutritional supplements.
Supplements are also beneficial for children who are malnourished due to digestive disorders or certain health problems.
However, before giving nutritional supplements to children, it is important to consult a doctor first so that the doctor can determine the type and dosage of nutritional supplements that are right for your child.
3. Get used to exercise regularly
Besides being fun for children, exercising or doing physical activity regularly has many health benefits.
Exercise is good for strengthening bones and muscles, maintaining ideal body weight, lowering blood pressure, reducing stress and anxiety, and helping to increase children's self-confidence.
Physical activity is carried out by both underweight and overweight children. For children who are underweight, exercise is useful to stimulate appetite.
Meanwhile, for children who are overweight, exercise is useful for burning calories and losing weight to make it more ideal.
4. Avoid stress
Stress in children can interfere with appetite or eating patterns. When experiencing excessive stress, children often skip meals, eat too much, become lazy to eat, or choose unhealthy foods.
Therefore, it is important for parents to maintain their child's ideal weight to avoid health problems in the future. Children who are too thin or underweight will be more at risk of developing growth disorders, weak immune systems, and learning difficulties.
On the other hand, being overweight is not healthy for children. Being overweight or even obese in children can increase the risk of various diseases, such as type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure.
To monitor your child's weight, you can do regular weighing at home or at a health facility, such as a puskesmas, posyandu, or doctor's clinic.
If your child is having problems growing and developing or you are having trouble maintaining your child's ideal weight, try consulting a doctor for treatment. This is important to do to improve the nutritional status of children and keep their bodies healthy.